2015 Ford C-Max HybridEnlarge Photo
It's embarrassing when an automaker has to reduce its EPA gas-mileage ratings after being investigated by the agency, as Ford did in August 2013 for its 2013 and 2014 C-Max Hybrid.
It's even more embarrassing when the company has to cut the rating on those vehicles again--along with five others--just 10 months later, after discovering errors in its testing procedures.
So you might expect that Ford's sales of hybrid-electric vehicles have been hurt by the two cuts in fuel efficiency on its highly-touted dedicated hybrid, the C-Max.
Not so much, it turns out.
2015 Ford Fusion HybridEnlarge Photo
More hybrids than ever
With August sales figures in, Ford continues to sell more hybrid vehicles on average than it has in any previous years.
And as noted by Ward's Auto before the August data was in, Ford's hybrid sales seem to have bounced back from any bad publicity.
In 2012, the company delivered about 35,000 hybrid vehicles--just marginally below its best-ever year of 2010, when it delivered 35,500 hybrids.
But that number more than doubled last year, the full full year on sale for its C-Max hatchback and Fusion mid-size sedan Hybrids and Energi plug-in hybrids.
2013 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, New York City, June 2013Enlarge Photo
In 2013, Ford sold 86,000 of its four hybrid models.
And for the first eight months of this year, the company has delivered 62,616 hybrids and plug-in hybrids--putting it on track to sell more than 90,000 for the full year.
Fusion pulls ahead
However, the mix has changed--which could be attributable to publicity over the double reduction in C-Max fuel-efficiency ratings.
Last year, Ford sold 43,359 Fusion hybrids and plug-ins, against 35,210 of their C-Max equivalents--or about 23 percent more.
Ford Fusion Energi charging.Enlarge Photo
For 2014 to date, though, the Fusion number is 35,257 against 19,945 C-Maxes--or about 77 percent more.
And on the Energi plug-in hybrid front, the difference is even more pronounced. Last year, the C-Max Energi outsold the Fusion Energi, 7,154 to 6,089.
Fusion Energi surges ahead
This year, the numbers are reversed, with the Fusion Energi leading at 8,683 and the C-Max Energi trailing behind at 5,809.
Our conclusion is that while the C-Max may have been slightly hurt by the ratings reductions, Ford is continuing to sell more hybrids than ever.
It will likely near its goal of 100,000 electrified vehicles this year, when you add in the low sales of the Ford Focus Electric (1,738 for all of last year, 1,358 so far this year).
But for a truly dedicated hybrid from Ford, one not adapted from a gasoline vehicle but built exclusively to be a hybrid, we'll likely have to wait until 2019 or so.